Gov’t proposes tuition-free elementary, secondary education hinh anh 1A second-grade music class at Nguyen Van Troi elementary school in the southernmost province of Ca Mau (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Education and Training has proposed free tuition for all public elementary and secondary schools as “an appropriate mechanism” for universalising access to education in Vietnam.

The proposal is part of draft amendments to the Law on Education that the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has submitted to the Government.

Under this proposal, public schools will charge no tuition fees until students finish their secondary education (Grade 6-9).

A report by the Vietnamnet online newspaper said the Government will consider the proposal as it determines a tuition fee structure for public schools whose regular expenditures are supported and managed by the State.

The proposal gives provincial People’s Councils the task of determining tuition fees for local public schools based on proposals by provincial People’s Committees.

Private schools have the right to develop their own tuition fee structures towards recouping costs and making reasonable profit. 

The draft also proposes that the national educational system be re-designed in "an open, flexible" direction that connects all levels of education and training.

It should enable learners to switch between educational programmes and levels so as to provide them with continuous learning opportunities.

General education should be divided into two phases: primary education and vocational education, the draft suggests.

Elementary and secondary schools (Grades 1-9) should be considered primary education, while high school (Grades 10-12) should provide a choice between academic or vocational training programmes at beginning and intermediate levels.

High school students should be allowed to switch to vocational training programmes if they qualify.

Those who finish high school should also have the choice of pursuing a university education or vocational training programmes.

The education ministry has also proposed that the country adopt different sets of textbooks for general education. While it will take responsibility for writing one set, other organisations and individuals will be encouraged to write their own sets of textbooks based on the general education curriculum.

Teachers’ salaries should have the highest coefficients in the national salary scale for employees in public institutions, the ministry has proposed. This would bring their salaries up to the coefficient of 6.2 to 8.0, equal to that of architects, doctors, pharmacists, coaches, professors and high-level lecturers – instead of from the current 4.0 to 6.38, a VnExpress report says. 

The proposal also imposes higher qualification requirements for elementary school teachers. They will have to have a college diploma in pedagogy instead of an intermediate-level vocational training certificate.-VNA